How to Make a Turducken

A Turducken on a plate.

Turducken is a specialty dish, generally reserved for holiday meals. The name comes from the ingredients — chicken inside a duck inside a turkey. By following these steps your bird will come out perfectly.

Step 1 - Choose Birds

In order for one bird to fit inside the other, each bird will be smaller than the first. Start with a turkey that is around 17 pounds. Next, you’ll want to choose a duck in the 7-pound range. Finally, select a chicken that’s around 3 to 4 pounds. You can adjust these sizes as necessary to suit smaller or larger crowds.

Step 2 - Wash Birds

Wash all of your birds inside and out. Remove any small organs stuffed inside. You can use them in your stuffing or stock if you like. Also trim any excess skin.

Step 3 - Debone Birds

A Turducken in tin foil.

The key to a properly layered turducken begins with the boning process. You will basically fillet open the turkey, cut around the entire breast section, and remove all the bones in the middle as one large section. Make sure that you do not cut all the way through the turkey during this step. When you are done, it should lay flat with the legs out to the side at the bottom and wings out to the side on the top. Next, remove the bones from each thigh.

Repeat the process with the chicken by cutting out the breast section and removing each drumstick bone. Because the wings are small and don’t provide much meat, cut them off at the joint closest to the body of the bird and remove the remaining drumette bone. Finally, debone the duck as necessary. Remove the fatty skin.

Step 4 - Layer

The end goal of the turducken is to create layers of meat and stuffing that make a beautiful presentation when cut. You can flavor the meats with your favorite seasonings and make one or more stuffings of your choice. Beginning with your flat turkey, place stuffing inside the breast flaps and pull the flaps over the stuffing. Also put stuffing inside the vacated thighs. Press a layer of stuffing into the turkey and lay the duck on top of it. Create another layer of stuffing on top of the duck and place the chicken on top of that.

Step 5 - Sew it Shut

Now that the layering is complete, it’s time to sew it up, making it look like a whole turkey again. To do this, pull the side of the back together at the middle. Use a meat sewing needle to feed trussing twine or string through both sides, pulling them together before tying it off. Create a row of stitches down the back of the turkey to hold the center firmly together. Next, tie the legs together and tuck in the wings. Wrap additional strings around the entire bird in a few spots for extra support and also run a tie from the legs around the top on both sides.

Step 6 - Cook

A Turducken.

With your turducken stuffed and sewn up, it’s time to bake it. Plan for 25 to 30 minutes per pound in an oven set at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Test it to make sure the internal temperature of the Turducken reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Once it does, remove the birds from the oven and let the Turducken rest for around 30 minutes before cutting it open. When carving, slice the layers into rounds for your guests.